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RE: Building Codes Online?

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Dennis,

I believe that you are incorrect in terms of the BSSC not paying for
face-to-face meetings...to a degree.  It is my understanding (and I could
be wrong) that the BSSC (through the FEMA grant) pays for the full members
of the Technical Subcommittees to attend the face-to-face meetings.  You
are correct in that the BSSC DOES NOT pay for corresponding members to
attend face-to-face meetings.

As far as how code committee work, I can only comment with any authority
on ACI's committees (ACI 318 in particular), but also have some experience
with ASCE 7 as well.  The committee approves and creates ALL wording, but
do it in a fashion that leaves it in many bits and pieces.  For example,
for the recent changes to ACI 318, I know that there were a number of
proposed changes that were approved that changed the commentary of section
21.2.1.  Each one of these changes were approved in a seperate
proposal/vote at seperate times, that then needed to be assembled into the
ACI 318.  While all this is tracked by the secretary of ACI 318, ACI staff
was incharge of assembling these changes into one place, in one updated
section that was then verified by members of the ACI 318 committee.  I
know this because I spent around a day assembling the changes to the
commentary of section 21.2.1 into that one updated section that was then
reviewed by members of the ACI 318 committee.  And that is just ONE
section.  This did not even include the time it took for someone to put
the changes into a page layout program.

The point is that the volunteers already contribute a huge amount of time
to create the actual technical information so ACI staff then finishes up
the process.  If the volunteers were forced to also do all the other more
mundane portions of this process, then there would likely be less
volunteers since they would be forced to spend to much time away from
making money for their companies to do things that they are not really
trained nor needed to do (page layout, assembling the pieces,
spellchecking, etc).  Their time and effort is much better spent doing
what their training/education and experience make them more valuable in
doing.

I know that this process is also true of ACI 530/ASCE 5/TMS 402 (masonry
code) and the other ACI codes as well as ACI techinical publications from
other committees.  I am also pretty sure that ASCE works in similar
fashion with ASCE 7.

I will certainly admit that having experienced the ACI 318 process that
there are things that can be done "better" and to be honest both ACI staff
and the 318 committee also realize this.  When I left ACI, we were in the
process of making a more formal electronic system that would allow the 318
committee to better track changes and to be able to work with a more
"flowable", current version of where the 318 document was at any time.
This was a good thing since it was difficult (for me at least and probably
for some committee members) to keep track of what had changed vs. what had
not.  Again, I would suggest that you sit down with a copy of the changes
to ACI 318-99 that where printed in Concrete International and ACI 318-99
and pretend that those two things were the ACI 318-02.  This will give you
some small taste of what life would be like if all you had to work with
was the direct output of the ACI 318 committee.  Then, try to imagine that
none of hte changes where in order as presented in the CI article and the
some sections were actually changed by several proposals, one which might
be on page 25 of the changes while another is on page 246 of the changes.
The point is that it would be virtually impossible to work in such a
manner in any sort of a productive way.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Tue, 8 Oct 2002, Structuralist wrote:

> Scott,
> BSSC does not pay for their members to attend face-to-face meetings
> either, although I would assume that large organizations like AF&PA
> reimburse their attending members even though I was told that is not
> true.
> I have been working with the TS-7 committee of BSSC (unless they have
> thrown me off for my desenting comments) and in the past I have worked
> with SEAOSC on the writing of the code that became the UCBC Appendix
> Chapter 1 and I did some work on the wood retrofit in the UCBC Appendix
> 5. In each case including the present BSSC sub-committee, the work is
> numbered as it will appear in final print.
> It may be ACI that does things differently, but I would still contend
> that most committees who contribute to code writing produce the document
> within the committee as it will be published. This makes sense in order
> to keep track of each section and sub-section.
> While you may be correct on SEAOC's practices, it was our work to set in
> each monthly committee meeting and review every word that was to be
> published. There were so many arguments over the use of "should" and
> "shall" that it became very tedius work. Still, this was our
> responsibility in order to produce a code section that could be
> published. I don't see where additional writing is done. Every member is
> given a draft to review in their own time, but the discussions were done
> over tables, not in listservices or discussion forums.
> In my opinion, had they used the List or discussion forum technology, we
> would have a means of tracing back to where issues that we are now
> debating or arguing over originated and the reason why they were written
> the way they were.
>
> Dennis
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 3:12 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Building Codes Online?
>
>
> This is not necessarily true.  Yes, the majority of the technical
> information is produced by volunteers, but that is NOT necessarily the
> majority of the work necessary to get the code into a format that you
> and I can effectively use.  See the message that I just posted before I
> got this message.
>
> I would also offer that _MANY_ (I know this is true of ACI 318) of the
> code committees do MOST of their work outside of the face-to-face
> meetings.  I will again suggest that you don't let your
> experience/knowledge of the SEAOC Seismology process completely dictate
> what you believe as to how code committee's operate (and I don't really
> know at all how SEAOC Seismology operates).  To use what I am familar
> with as an example, ACI 318 meets two, maybe three, times a year.  If
> you have seen the list of changes that were made in the '02 cycle, then
> you should be able to easily see that there is no way that they could
> make that many significant changes with only two face-to-face meetings a
> year without doing some work in between meetings (a rather significant
> amount of work, I might add).
>
> And one slight correction to Ben's comment...not all code development
> volunteers have their expenses paid by the organizations.  ACI does
> _NOT_ pay for ANY travel expenses for members of ACI 318 or 530 (masonry
> code). I don't believe that ASCE does for ASCE 7.  I believe that AISC
> does provide some help to some members, but then again they have some
> sources of revenue that others don't have.
>
> HTH,
>
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
>
>
> On Mon, 7 Oct 2002, Structuralist wrote:
>
> > Ben,
> > With all due respect, the majority of the work is done by volunteers
> > and their work is compiled in electronic format. The face-to-face
> > meeting
>
>
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